Welcome to W.I.T.S. (World Instructor Training Schools)
The World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.) has been leading for 25 years to enhance public safety by developing and administering true health and fitness certification programs. Furthermore, jobs in this industry are projected to grow 16% into 2021. Through the W.I.T.S. courses, you can become certified as a personal trainer, group fitness trainer, older adult trainer, and other disciplines in this industry.
The W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer is the only organization to receive NCCA accreditation in the practical skills and theoretical knowledge for their personal health trainer programs. In addition, W.I.T.S. certified fitness trainer courses are at hundreds of neighborhood colleges and universities with college credits through the American Council on Education (www.acenet.edu). Check out how we prepare our graduates for a solid career.
“I believe that the Internship requirement by WITS is invaluable! It forced me into a real training environment with real clients. I worked with 5 different trainers and was exposed to different training styles as well as very varied client ability levels. I saw first-hand how to interact successfully with clients and to keep them moving through their exercises. The Internship gave me the confidence I needed when I first began working as a Personal Trainer – I was hired at the facility I interned at!!! Get Moving!” — Carole K.View More Testimonials & References
By Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults (52 million Americans) is grappling with mental illness per the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at addressing quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services related to substance abuse and mental illnesses.
The convergence of public health, economic, and societal crises in 2020 served as a watershed moment that inequality and disparities in resources exist, but more harrowingly that our country is panged by an illness significantly more widespread than COVID-19 and perhaps less reported than the common cold.
Ostensibly, events over the past 18 months have exacerbated pre-existing mental illnesses while spawning an incalculable cluster of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.
In its Stress in AmericaTM 2020 report, the American Psychological Association reported that 78% of Americans consider the coronavirus pandemic as a significant stressor within the lives, while 60% indicate the issues America is facing overwhelms them. One in five adults reported that their mental health is worse than it was the prior year.
Paralleling issues have been observed within the workforce over the past year as stress associated with perception of safety, pathogen transmission risk concerns and deployment of transmission risk mitigation measures resulting in quarantine, confinement and social exclusion, misinformation, and actual or potential financial impact and job insecurity. Additionally, dependent care needs mounted amid COVID-19 as many schools were closed nationwide as a measure to thwart the spread of the virus.
Healthcare workers were most adversely impacted by COVID-19. A meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Ottawa comprised of 189,159 subjects revealed a 16% percent prevalence of depression and a 15% prevalence of anxiety. Another meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies involving healthcare workers with a cumulative sample size of 13,641 generated the following outcomes expressed as percentages of the subject pool: stress (40.6%), depression (32%), and insomnia (38%). Leisure and hospitality workers and those in customer-facing roles faced similar procedural driven depression and anxiety causing stressors as a result of COVID-19.
Attendant with developing familial and occupational demands were diminished practice of health behaviors, specifically engagement in physical activity. Regular physical activity has been traditionally accepted and promoted to curtail cardiometabolic health risk while improving a constellation of fitness qualities, including muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Despite this, only 23.2% of U.S. adults aged 18 and over met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans originally established in 2008 and revised in 2018 by the US Department of Health and Human Services which recommends the achievement of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week and two non-consecutive days per week devoted to resistance training involving all major muscle groups.
Reductions in physical activity were noted among 70% of medical residents and significant disruptions in physical activity were reported among females. Younger adults who continued to exercise during COVID-19 lockdowns chronicled feeling more energetic than those who exercised irregularly or not at all and among 2,115 respondents across the lifespan (ages 16-65+) who achieved 150 minutes of physical activity per week were happier and more likely to maintain their overall wellbeing than those who performed less than 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Physical activity level was the greatest predictor of emotional wellbeing amid COVID-19, with greater wellbeing scores noted among persons achieving moderate to high weekly physical activity levels.
Members of a population who presumptively engaged in regular physical activity prior to COVID-19 also endured disruptions to their fitness routines. According to The Covid Era Fitness Consumer survey conducted by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which comprised 1,171 respondents composed of U.S. adults aged 18 and over who maintain or recently cancelled a gym membership, revealed that 48% admitted to having a harder time finding motivation to exercise and 54% were dissatisfied with their new routine, with 56% indicating they believe their new routine to be worse. 10% of respondents revealed they stopped exercising altogether.
Though employment trends and arrangements have shifted in the past year, institutional or corporate wellness programs remain optimally positioned to promote the inclusion of physical activity to improve and uphold physical and mental health. Administrators and practitioners should formulate health messaging to include physical activity guidelines, elucidate benefits, and provide resources, actionable strategies, and creative solutions to help their populations achieve greater physical and mental health during these challenging times.
Want to get proactive and learn more for your clients and understand depression and other issues? Check out the Medical Fitness Specialist certification.
Greetings everyone! I hope this update finds you well. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful for your dedication and perseverance to both your education and your clients. Fortunately, the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter each day, as more people become vaccinated and case counts decrease. Most states have begun to ease restrictions and fitness facilities across the US are re-opening their doors to eager people who are looking to shed their own personal “Covid-19” weight gain.
At W.I.T.S., we always aim to provide up-to-date and relevant educational programming for our students and post-pandemic life will provide us with a unique opportunity to introduce our newest certification program: Medical Fitness Specialist. This program will focus on identifying, programming for, and training clients with a multitude of chronic conditions, ranging from anxiety through cancer.
According to the CDC, nearly 6 in 10 Americans are currently living with a chronic condition and nearly 4 in 10 Americans are living with more than one chronic condition. We can also expect this number to increase in the coming months/years as a result of Covid-19 “long haulers” and the number of people newly diagnosed with conditions such as anxiety or depression increase. A key component in training these unique individuals is understanding the unique challenges and opportunities they present and this certification course will do just that!
Medical Fitness Specialist Certification is a 30-CEC course that will spend equal parts studying core content (lecture-based) and learning hands-on approaches to training these unique clients (practical-based). When learning about each condition, students will learn about:
- Basic pathophysiology
- Common medications and interactions
- Effects of exercise response and training
- Recommendations for exercise training
- Exercise program recommendations
We are extremely excited to offer this course and our developers are working diligently to get this course completed as quickly as possible while maintaining the educational standard you’ve come to expect from our coursework. Stay tuned for its release in May 2021!
by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Faculty Member, World Instructor Training Schools
The events of 2020 have plunged many of us into the caverns of our deepest possible introspections — the way we evaluate our lives, purpose, and appreciate each waking moment is magnified. Amid the differences the mass media conveniently highlights to divide us and through our daily struggles in this volatile world, there is one common denominator among us — something that has served as our cornerstone — training.
The way we as coaches, athletes, fitness professionals, and enthusiasts view training has indelibly changed. One thing this year has taught our collective brethren is to be more resourceful and resilient than ever. Brick and mortar business models are now shifting to virtual mediums. Programming is now more flexible, not in the literal sense, but in the practical one, given the pre-emptive and seemingly pulsatile closures of gyms and fitness facilities, otherwise deemed as “non-essential” businesses.
Nowadays, much of my work revolves around instituting, delivering, and evaluating wellness initiatives within higher education, though I continue to support a small contingent of clients, including a handful of professional basketball players. Though an infinitesimally small sample of the population we serve, the adverse impact on their personal and professional lives is representative of those wanting to doggedly continue the pursuit of their training goals.
With limited to no access to facilities and most having a sparse collection of equipment at their disposal, their predicament forced us to establish a new normalcy through sustainable programming.
Enter ultra-high repetition (UHR) training…
At first glance, employing repetition ranges beyond (20) may have limited utility. And in traditional settings, performing exclusively higher repetitions may not favorably elicit adaptations in maximal or limit strength, however, UHR does warrant consideration in several circumstances beyond those rehabilitating from injury.
It has been well established that higher repetitions per set will tap into the oxidatively mediated Type I muscle fibers that are responsible for stability and motor control, thus providing an adequate stimulus requisite for activation.
However, those beginning an exercise program or returning from a long layoff, perhaps prompted by facility closures and limited access to equipment, could benefit from UHR training.
An experimental design consisting of circuit training sessions performed 3x weekly conducted over a period of (12) weeks involving repetitions as high as (36) per set, yielded considerable improvements in strength and body compositions among the training group . Among untrained individuals, little differences in strength were realized upon completing 3x weekly sessions for (7) weeks for groups performing 3-5 repetitions, 13-15 repetitions, and 23-25 repetitions . An earlier study involving untrained subjects demonstrated increased time to fatigue, maximal aerobic power, and significant improvements in muscular endurance upon completion of performing an (8) week battery involving a repetition range of 20-28 repetitions for two sets interpolated by one minute of rest . Additionally, dual energy X-ray scans following 27 weeks of low-load, high-repetition resistance training revealed significant improvements in pelvic bone mineral density and accretions within the appendicular skeleton and lumbar spine .
Acutely, energy expenditure was found to be comparable between time matched sessions involving lower loads with higher repetitions and higher loads for lower repetitions . Lesser loads representing 30% of 1RM, when brought to momentary muscular fatigue, were shown to educe acute myofibrillar protein synthesis rates comparable to 90% of 1RM among untrained, but active young men, when paired with immediate post-session protein enriched recovery supplement . Performing repetitions to failure at 30% 1RM within an (8) week program evoked increases in physiological cross-sectional area of the lower thigh, or quadriceps (7.8%) similar to high load, repetitions to failure (8.1%) and high load, repetitions not taken to failure (7.7%) . Comparable increases in muscle thickness were observed among groups of women engaging in either 30% 1RM or 80% 1RM over a period of six weeks . And though Schoenfeld and colleagues (2015) illustrated improved strength among highly trained subjects performing a protocol of higher loads and moderate repetitions (8-12 repetitions), comparable increases in thickness of the elbow flexors and extensors and knee extensors were attained with lower loads and higher repetitions (25-35 repetitions) absent any deliberate nutritional modifications over (8) weeks . As observed in multiple prior studies, muscular endurance significantly improved.
It can be speculated that the training intensity achieved in said protocols was sufficient to activate the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an enzymatic protein that stewards muscle protein synthesis, which is a key determinant of hypertrophy.
Broadly speaking, training with higher repetition ranges builds and maintains the foundational work capacity required for more intense training as denominated by external load, volume, tonnage (load x volume), or density and permit for more frequent training, which in turn, permit enhanced muscle protein synthesis. Frequent training, absent circa maximal loads and attendant mechanical tension, is also more conducive to inter-session recovery since muscle soreness and taxation of the central nervous system are of little concern.
Below are some programming considerations:
- For injured persons, beginners, and those lacking relative strength, or proficiency with their bodyweight, and or limited proprioception, light dumbbells, household objects and canned goods with even weight distribution are recommended.
- If possible, bodyweight exercises should be performed as they enable a myriad of progression schemes: repetitions and sets (volume) and density and can also be performed intermittently. Bodyweight exercises, almost exclusively, are credited for sculpting Herculean physiques, including that of former Heisman trophy winner, Herschel Walker, who performed hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups daily.
- Bands also permit the execution of high repetitions sets while mitigating post-session and day after soreness. Bands accommodate the strength curve on exercises. Overload is experienced closer to the end of the exercise’s respective range of motion or “lock-out”.
- High intensity plyometric exercises, such as bounding, broad and vertical and other multi-directional jumps, and those intended to develop muscular power should not be performed in high repetition sets.
- Olympic lifts should not be performed in high repetition sets as technical execution and motor learning tasks take precedence over muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness.
- Though the loads may seem light from the outset, its prudent to adhere to progressive overload and not drastically increase volume or intensity arbitrarily and/or in subsequent training sessions. Also, limit training to failure to one set per training session and build up to one set per exercise performed, ideally the last set of said exercise.
- Campos, G.E., Luecke, T.J., Wendeln, H.K., Toma, K., Hagerman, F.C., Murray, T.F., Ragg, K.E., Ratamess, N.A., Kraemer, W.J., & Staron, R.S. (2002). Muscular adaptations in response to three different resistance-training regimens: specificity of repetition maximum training zones. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 88, 50-60.
- Lasevicius, T., Schoenfeld, B.J., Silva-Batista, C., de Souza Barros, T., Aihara, A.Y., Brendon, H., Longo, A.R., Tricoli, V., de Almeida Peres, B., & Teixeira, E.L. (2019). Muscular failure promotes greater muscle hypertrophy in low-load but not in high-load resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, [Epub ahead of print].
- Mitchell, C.J., Churchward-Venne, T.A., West, D.W.D., Burd, N.A., Breen, L., Baker, S.K., & Phillips, S.M. (2012). Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 113 (1), 71-77.
- O’Connor, T.E. & Lamb, K.L. (2003). The effects of Bodymax high-repetition resistance training on measures of body composition and muscular strength in active adult women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17 (3), 614-620.
- Petersen, B.A., Hastings, B., & Gotschall, J.S. (2015). Low load, high repetition resistance training program increases bone mineral density in untrained adults. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 57 (1-2), 70-76.
- Rustaden, A.M., Gjestvang, C., Bǿ, K., Hagen Haakstad, L.A., & Paulsen, G. (2020). Similar energy expenditure during BodyPump and heavy load resistance exercise in overweight women. Frontiers in Physiology, 11, 570
- Schoenfeld, B.J., Peterson, M.D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G.T. (2015). Effects of low- versus high-load resistance training on muscle strength and hypertrophy in well-trained men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29 (10), 2954-2963.
- Stefanaki, D.G.A., Dzulkarnain, A., & Gray, S.R. (2019). Comparing the effects of low and high load resistance exercise to failure on adaptive responses to resistance exercise in young women. Journal of Sports Sciences, 37 (12), 1375-1380.
- Weiss, L.W., Coney, H.D., & Clark, F.C. (1999). Differential functional adaptations to short-term low-, moderate-, and high-repetition weight training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13 (3), 236-241.